ISLAMABAD - The opposition benches Wednesday staged a token walkout from the upper house of the parliament as a protest against loadshedding and piling up circular debt.

Senior PPP lawmaker Mian Raza Rabbani on a point of order said that in June last year, the government had cleared the circular debt after payment of Rs 480 billion, saying this was done to end loadshedding. However many of the businessmen who had supported the government were apparently benefited, he added. “But loadshedding did not decrease and it was same all over the country as it was in the previous years however bank accounts of some capitalists swelled up,” he remarked.

“Now IPPs have written a letter to the ministry of water and power threatening the state if the government did not pay the outstanding amount of Rs 300 billion of circular debt, it should get ready for 14 hours loadshedding,” Rabbani said.

“Don’t weaken the state so much as first you capitulated before terrorists and then capitulated before ongoing crisis by not playing due role and now you are capitulating before association of capitalists,” he said before all the opposition parties including PPP, ANP, PML-Q and MQM staged a protest walkout from the house.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq requested the minister of water and power to bring record of IPPs before the house and said on a lighter note that the opposition had made it a habit to stage protest walkout daily.

Later, Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir on behalf of minister for planning and development responding to a call attention said the government had disbursed Rs 318 billion till May 20, 214 out of the total Rs 540 billion allocated for PSDP. “The process of release of funds would continue till the end of this fiscal year and that will reach up to Rs 425 billion and the remaining Rs 115 billion could not be utilised as these had been allocated for new initiatives on the condition if revenues would increase,” he said. This is 18 per cent increase than previous year and the government had at all had not cut the development budget.

The mover of the notice, Syeda Sughra Imam, said the government had disbursed 57.4 per cent funds out of the total allocated funds for PSDP till May 16, as mentioned in the official website of Planning Commission, whereas 85 per cent funds should have been disbursed according to the financial disbursement schedule of the commission. She said this would be a hurdle in the growth of the economy of the country.